Strange Star is the first book I read by British children’s book author Emma Carroll, and I think it won’t be the last. If you want to read a nice gothic story about the events that led Mary Shelly to write Frankenstein, you are in the right place.
A friend of mine gifted me this book, and I chose it for my 2021 Reading Challenge. She said she loved it because it is about Frankenstein and Mary Shelly, and I would do too. Of course, she was right; I liked it very much. Just as my fondness for children’s books increased nowadays, it was a perfect choice. Strange Star is one of those books that shows that children’s books are not written for children only but all of us.
Strange Star tells the fascinating story of two sisters named Lizzie and Pat. In the first part, we are at Diodati Villa in Geneva. The butler named Felix delivers the invitation signed by Lord Byron for the horror story meeting that will take place that evening. As the preparations continue at the villa, the weather starts to spoil, and it turns into a terrible storm, or we can call it the perfect weather for telling horror stories.
As the guests tell their stories by the fireplace, we understand more or less how horrible the stories are through Felix. The audience is tense and scared. This atmosphere, however, becomes even more terrible when one of the guests sees someone outside in the awful weather, and there is a knock on the door a little later. Who can come to the villa in this terrible storm and at this time of night?
Strange Star focuses on Lizzie and Pat’s story after this first episode, which more or less sets the tone for it. We leave Geneva in 1816 and go back to Somersetshire in 1815. There is a rather strange star in the sky, and people think it is a bad sign. This is already a town where superstitions are pretty standard. Lizzie’s best friend, because of another superstition, feels that Lizzie and her mother will die within a year, but Lizzie is at ease. Both her mother and herself are very healthy. However, unexpected events greet them, and their lives change in a matter of seconds.
Of course, the scientist who is new to the town (and the whole village is talking about him!) also has a share in this. Since this scientist’s arrival, strange things have been happening, whom no one knows precisely what he is doing. And the townspeople try to find the person behind these events; unfortunately, nobody thinks about the scientist. Of course, all they’re thinking about is the girl and her family who had that strange accident. They believe that it is expected that a person who experiences such a peculiar event will bring bad luck to the town or act weird! It is up to Lizzie to unravel the secret behind things.
Strange Star will be a book that you will love. The characters are beautifully crafted, and the author’s language is delightful. The story is fascinating, and the subjects it touches on are essential. It will give children a lot of topics to discuss. Scientific experiments and the sacrifices made for these experiments, racism, the place of women in the past, family and friends’ importance, avoiding getting stuck in the past and looking at the future with hope are just a few examples.
I think Strange Star will be a good choice for children aged 12 and over. However, if you get them to learn about Frankenstein before reading this book, their interest in the book will increase, and the topic you will discuss will be more interesting when the book is finished. I mean, I hope you and your child will read this book, and you will have a good discussion at the end. Wouldn’t it be delightful? Enjoy!
They were coming tonight to tell ghost stories. ‘A tale to freeze the blood,’ was the only rule. Switzerland, 1816. On a stormy summer night, Lord Byron and his guests are gathered round the fire.
Felix, their serving boy, can’t wait to hear their creepy tales.
Yet real life is about to take a chilling turn – more chilling than any tale.
Frantic pounding at the front door reveals a stranger, a girl covered in the most unusual scars.
She claims to be looking for her sister, supposedly snatched from England by a woman called Mary Shelley.
Someone else has followed her here too, she says. And the girl is terrified. This breathtaking new book from Emma Carroll, the critically-acclaimed author of Frost Hollow Hall, The Girl Who Walked On Air, In Darkling Wood and The Snow Sister, is a deliciously creepy story inspired by the creation of Frankenstein, and is brought to life by a leading talent in children’s literature.
From her website: Emma Carroll
When I’m not writing books, I’m reading them. For many years I was an English teacher in a secondary school in Devon. Nowadays, I write full time. It’s my absolute dream-come-true job!
As a child, I wrote stories about ponies and pop stars, though not together. Today they call it fan-fiction; back then it was just weird. After school, I worked as a reporter on a local newspaper. From there I went to university to study English Literature. After backpacking around the Middle East, South America, Australia, I did a PGCE in English and became a teacher.
Many years later, I bought myself a lovely big notebook and some new pens. I enrolled on the MA Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, and got writing again. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ was started on the MA course. It is my first novel, and took two years and many cups of tea to write. I live in the Somerset hills with my husband and two Jack Russell terriers.
Five More Things About Me:
• I am obsessed with snow.
• My dogs Pip and Bertie snooze next to me when I’m writing.
• I have been a vegetarian since the age of 11.
• I love peanut butter AND marmite AND cucumber on toast – don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
• My favourite book is ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: